Sunday, April 21, 2013


The power of the GM food industry has recently been demonstrated in no uncertain terms when the government in the US prohibited courts interfering with propagation of transgenic plants like sugar beets in future! In no civilized country such a thing can happen because of the responsibility cast on the government to protect the citizens from any type of danger to their life. No doubt that the GM foods have come to stay in the US market, uncontrolled and unregulated by the government there because of the massive influence of the GM food industry on the law makers there through financial donations during election. Of course there is an ethics committee of the Senate which is after all a closed club of supporters of GM foods and nothing concrete can be expected from it in cases pertaining to corruption by the GM food industry. There are wide spread protests against this sordid policy orchestration though it is unlikely the government would bend. Here is a sad commentary on this new twist to the GM food story which can at best be described as a tragedy. 

Why is this such a big deal? The court system is often our last hope, with Congress, the White House, and regulatory agencies deep inside industry's pocket. Several legal challenges have resulted in court decisions overturning USDA's approval of new GMO crops, for example, sugar beets. So the biotech industry, unable to make its case to a judge, figured why not just rewrite the Constitution instead, with the help of a Democratic Senate led by Senator Barbara Mikulski, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Despite Montana Senator Jon Tester's best attempts to stop the so-called biotech rider, the measure was pushed through. (Industry had tried to get a similar measure passed more than once last year.) Tester minced no words in an article in yesterday's POLITICO about this and other industry power grabs such as weakening small farmer protections: These provisions are giveaways, pure and simple, and will be a boon worth millions of dollars to a handful of the biggest corporations in this country. They deserve no place in this bill. We simply have got to do better on both policy and process.

No doubt the GM foods have been tested extensively and no specific evidence has surfaced damning the technology or the products derived from this new breeding techniques. But all the studies which have found little evidence of safety risks are based on limited scale and short time duration. Those who care for the precious lives of future generation have the right to insist on establishing the safety beyond a shadow of doubt. The intolerance of criticism by scientists, social activists and consumers is great, GM food industry does not want its products to be even labeled so that one can make an informed choice whether to buy them or not! USA is the only country in the world which exempts the GM foods from declaring the same on front of the pack label. If such unlimited power is given to an irresponsible industry controlled by a few transnational corporations, what would be the fate of the consumers and how he can resist the force feeding strategy adopted by them? There is still hope that such brazen nexus between the "destroyer and the protector" will not be allowed to get away unchallenged in the coming days!  


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